Lagoa – the complete guide
Lagoa is an enchanting hill town adorned with whitewashed houses that once overlooked a serene lagoon (lagoa). While the lagoon itself may be a thing of the past, the town proudly retains its identity, along with its renowned top-notch wine.
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Wandering through Lagoa, you’ll be immersed in the charm of traditional Algarve, a blend of contemporary and 18th-century architecture. Positioned strategically, Lagoa offers easy access to some of the Algarve’s finest beaches: Albandeira, Benagil, Carvoeiro, and Marinha, each boasting vibrant cliffs and crystalline waters.
Moreover, the proximity to the popular Slide & Splash waterpark, a haven for kids, adds to Lagoa’s allure. Armed with this guide, you’ll effortlessly navigate and appreciate the wonders of Lagoa.
The Seven Suspended Valleys Trail
Embark on a journey along the Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos, a captivating hiking trail—arguably one of the Algarve’s most picturesque routes. Translating to the walking trail of the seven hanging valleys, it unfolds from Praia de Vale Centeanes in the west to Praia da Marinha in the east. This 12-kilometer round trip offers breathtaking views and unique rock formations.
Ensure you’re equipped with suitable footwear, as the trail can be challenging in places.
Splash into Fun
Discover the thrills of Slide & Splash, a renowned water park near Lagoa. Boasting an array of slides, the park promises entertainment for all ages. While the entrance fee is on the higher side at €27, it’s a small price for a memorable day out.
To enhance your experience, plan your visit on weekdays to avoid the weekend crowd. Additionally, consider packing your own snacks to save on the park’s pricey food options.
Charming Churches of Lagoa
For those intrigued by simple yet captivating churches, a visit to the Church of Our Lady of Light (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz) is a must. Originally constructed in the early 16th century, the church underwent reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. With its exquisite windows and meticulous upkeep, it remains a site of tranquility and historical charm.
Nature Retreat at Municipal Park of the Springs
Explore the tranquility near Estômbar by visiting the Municipal Park of the Springs (Parque Municipal das Fontes). This scenic park envelops a spring of the Arade River, offering a favorite spot for picnics among the locals.
Delight in the diverse flora and fauna, discover a restored watermill, an amphitheatre, and a traditional Algarvian house. Ideal for a peaceful retreat in the countryside, the park also invites you to swim and take leisurely walks amidst nature’s wonders.
Cultural Exploration at Convent of Saint Joseph
Adjacent to the Church of Our Lady of Light lies the Convent of Saint Joseph (Convento de São José). Originally built around 1710, the convent fell into disrepair before a significant renovation revived its grandeur.
Today, it serves as the cultural hub of Lagoa, hosting exhibitions of painting, photography, and sculpture. Wander through art galleries situated in the original nun’s rooms, explore a small 18th-century chapel, and discover menhirs in the courtyard—all with free entry.
Art and Wine Fusion at Lady in Red Galeria Arte Algarve
Experience the artistic ambiance of Lagoa at the Lady in Red Galeria Arte Algarve, housed in an industrial space of a prominent wine producer. The pervasive fragrance of wine sets the scene as the gallery showcases predominantly modern art.
Should you find a piece you love, it’s available for purchase, albeit at a higher cost. Conveniently located on EN125, the gallery is open from Monday to Saturday and features a cafe. While entry is free, voluntary donations are appreciated.
Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate
Indulge in a delightful experience near Lagoa at the Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate. Immerse yourself in a captivating wine tour, gaining insights into the winemaking process. The highlight, undoubtedly, is the chance to taste their exquisite wines.
The estate’s garden features vibrant sculptures, adding a unique touch to the surroundings. A visit here promises a delightful blend of art and wine appreciation.
Explore the village of Porches, renowned in the municipality of Lagoa for its exquisite potteries and handpainted ceramics. Along the EN125 road, you’ll encounter well-known potteries like Porches Pottery. Not far from Porches, atop a rocky cliff overlooking the stunning beach of Senhora da Rocha, lies the Senhora da Rocha chapel. Destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, it once housed a fortress. A captivating tradition here is the annual procession of Senhora da Rocha, held on the first Sunday of August.
Explore the village of Carvoeiro, nestled within the municipality of Lagoa. Once a quaint fishing village, Carvoeiro has evolved into a bustling tourist hub while retaining its timeless charm. The central area boasts a small yet picturesque beach, adorned with fishing boats resting on the sand. Modern villas surround Carvoeiro, and don’t miss the opportunity to visit the mesmerizing rock formations of Algar Seco and the pristine beaches of Vale Centeanes, Benagil, and Praia da Marinha. Embark on a scenic walk from Carvoeiro to the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, where the remnants of a 17th-century fortress offer a breathtaking view of the beach and village.
Discover the allure of Ferragudo, a quintessential fishing village perched on the left bank of the Arade River near Lagoa. The village is characterized by enchanting traditional white houses adorned with typical chimneys. Atop the hill stands a church, while nearby, the 17th-century São João fortress safeguards the river estuary from pirate attacks. With a view across the river to Portimão, Ferragudo is a delightful destination for a brief but immersive experience.
Embark on a coastal journey to explore some of the Algarve’s most breathtaking beaches within the Lagoa municipality. These beaches, sheltered by towering rock cliffs, offer not only pristine sands but also excellent amenities. Some provide opportunities for various water sports, as well as enticing excursions like grotto tours and dolphin watching. Below are our top picks:
Praia da Marinha: Renowned as one of the Algarve’s iconic beaches, Praia da Marinha is a postcard-perfect destination, celebrated for its distinctive M-shaped rock.
Praia de Albandeira: This gem is known for its mesmerizing arch in the water, allowing swimmers to venture beneath it towards a nearby secluded beach—a small yet precious jewel of the Algarve.
Praia de Benagil: Famous for its captivating cave known as Algar de Benagil, this beach is a must-visit spot in the Algarve. The cave awaits around the left corner of the beach.
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha: Backed by towering cliffs, this beautiful beach features a quaint chapel atop a cliff, creating a picturesque scene with local fishermen and their boats.
Praia de Vale Centeanes: Located east of Carvoeiro, this beach is perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving, offering a vibrant underwater world to explore.
Praia do Carvalho: Boasting stunning scenery and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a favorite for cliff jumping. Teens and adventurous adults revel in the thrill it offers.
Explore Praia do Carvoeiro, the main beach of the charming village of Carvoeiro. This lively holiday destination offers a vibrant town atmosphere, surrounded by numerous restaurants and bars, creating a lively seaside experience.
While Lagoa has much to offer, there’s a plethora of experiences awaiting in the broader Algarve region. Consider taking a boat trip along the stunning coast, renting a stand-up paddleboard to explore the Benagil cave, or embarking on a thrilling dolphin-watching adventure. Many of these excursions can be conveniently booked online. Here are our top recommendations for memorable experiences in the Lagoa area.
If you’re seeking accommodation near Lagoa, there are several excellent options available. Below, you’ll find our favorite hotels categorized by budget.
- Vale D’oliveiras Quinta Resort And Spa: A luxurious five-star haven with an outdoor pool surrounded by lush gardens. Offering wellness facilities and treatments, it’s in close proximity to beaches, making it ideal for an exclusive holiday. Indulge in a delightful breakfast buffet as part of your stay.
- Lagoa Hotel: This four-star gem offers great value for money. With a swimming pool, terrace, and kitchenette in each room, it provides excellent facilities at reasonable prices. Guests appreciate the outstanding service and pleasant atmosphere.
- O Quintal Guesthouse: A cozy bed and breakfast featuring standard rooms and a mixed dormitory room with single beds. The establishment is praised for its cleanliness, comfortable beds, outdoor swimming pool, and garden with barbecue facilities.
Discover a variety of excellent restaurants near Lagoa, each offering a unique culinary experience. Here are our top picks.
- Tapas no Bucho: A Portuguese gem serving delectable tapas made from high-quality regional ingredients. The restaurant offers an inviting atmosphere, complemented by an excellent selection of wines.
- Chrissy’s: Ideal for lunch, this restaurant provides good food with prompt service. Guests can choose to dine inside or enjoy their meal outdoors, appreciating great value for money.
- SUD Restaurant & Lounge Bar: Indulge in Peruvian and Chilean cuisine with exceptional food and service. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding area from this stylish restaurant.
- China Town: For enthusiasts of Chinese cuisine, this restaurant stands out for its excellent food quality and service. It’s considered one of the best places for Chinese cuisine in the area.
Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Lagoa by attending one of its standout events, the renowned Fatacil. This annual fair is a highlight not only for Lagoa but for the entire Algarve region. Fatacil showcases a diverse array of handicrafts, artworks, agricultural products, and tourism-related offerings. The festivities include delicious food, captivating music, and entertaining performances, drawing thousands of visitors annually. Marked on the calendar for 10 days in August, Fatacil is an unmissable experience if you find yourself in the Algarve during this vibrant month.
Another spectacular event to witness in Lagoa is Sand City (FIESA). Each year, skilled sand sculptors from around the world gather in the Algarve to create breathtaking sculptures depicting people, animals, and places using sand. This event, recognized as the largest of its kind globally, offers a mesmerizing display of artistic talent and is highly recommended for a visit.
Discover Lagoa, a quaint municipality in the Algarve with a population of approximately 23,000 inhabitants. Situated to the east of Lagoa is Silves, while Portimão lies to the west. The town of Lagoa serves as the heart of a renowned wine-producing region, producing millions of liters of red and white wine, rosé, liqueur, and dry aperitif wine annually. Surrounded by exquisite beaches, tourism has become a crucial component of the local economy.
Administratively, Lagoa is divided into four civil parishes (freguesias):
- Estômbar e Parchal
- Lagoa e Carvoeiro